Instead I thought I would fill you in on what it feels like to let go. I just bought “Swallow the Sea” by Matthew Perryman Jones as the end of the summer and the song by the title “Feels Like Letting Go” seems to describe my summer and the lessons in life that God is trying to teach me right now. This summer kicked my butt; it was busy, full of work and family and support raising. I loved parts of it and hated parts of it and to be honest, didn’t like the parts that God was probably teaching me the most in. A good friend once told me “We all long to be refined but once we are in the crucible, we cry out and don’t like it and try to get out.”
I learned a lot about trust this summer and have been learning the same thing since being back in Rome. I have a hard time trusting God when it is something bigger than I can accomplish on my own. And raising all the money to come back to Rome was something bigger than myself. So there were times when I was riding high, after encouraging conversations or support appointments, and just as quickly I would catch a downdraft and my plane of trust would nose dive towards “reality.” However, the reality I was looking at was one that was dependent upon my efforts, not one that trusted God for doing what he does best, which is God-sized stuff. I read recently that “Hosanna!” means “Save us now!” and the author who wrote this said that “Only in God’s Kingdom is a cry for help equal to a shout of praise.”
I needed to be yelling Hosanna! and believing God would actually show up more often this summer and even after I have arrived in Rome. The great thing is that He doesn’t have to wait for me; he still moves to save me from my incompetence. When I arrived here this year, I thought I had it down. After all, I have been in Rome for a year before and I am a capable leader, just check out all the leadership experience on my resume. Instead I found out that I am a pretty selfish guy, being frustrated when others cannot keep up with my pace, and spent a lot of time being upset at what I didn’t know. Hosanna! God answered my call.
After the first week in Rome, we headed out to Tuscany for a 3-day “Nuovo Inizio” conference for all new staff and Jenny and I stuck around for a couple more days for a leadership conference. God was gracious to “satisfy the weary soul (Jer. 31:25)” with friends and fellowship, teaching that spoke to my heart (2 Cor 3:4-6… if you have never read it, it blew me away), and the beauty of his creation. I felt as if God was saying, “Just like this summer, all I want is for you to trust me. You are enough because I with you and I am enough for you because I am God, the Creator and sustainer.” I want to walk in that truth as we begin this next week as the first week on campus, the first week of the new quarter.
That song “Feels Like Letting Go” that I talked about has a bridge that says “Well I’m stepping out / I cant see and there is no sound / Seeming void becomes the solid ground / Sight I’ve lost becomes the faith I’ve found.” I want to step out, truly let go and step out into the void to find that I am standing on the Solid Rock.
This is what I wrote in my journal one of the mornings, trying to capture the beauty in front of me. “The beauty here is breathtaking. Literally. The sun slowly creeps up over the horizon, illuminating mist covered fields of corn, olive trees, vineyards and rolling lush green woods. The colors shine in a hazy mist, a golden hue that makes one think of fields, rather than streets, of gold. It is a serene setting, only interrupted by birds and the low murmurs of the cattle. The world lies in wait. For another day, a day that brings closer the day of the Lord.”